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Blood drives set up in fallen firefighter’s honor

The widow of a Westbury firefighter who died of cancer from exposure to toxins at Ground Zero is helping set up blood drives in his honor.

Fortunate JoAnn Schulz said her husband, Richard Dellacona, “always gave blood. He was a big donor. By doing a blood drive, we’d be able to help a lot of people. Everybody needs blood or knows someone who needs blood.”

Dellacona was Westbury fire chief on Sept. 11, 2001, and spent weeks doing search and rescue work at Ground Zero. He died in 2012 at age 60 of leiomyosarcoma. In October, the Town of Hempstead dedicated a Westbury street in his honor.

The blood drives are at places where Dellacona, Schulz or family members have worked, attended school or worshipped. Most are in conjunction with the New York Blood Center.

The drives will be held at:
-Stony Brook University Hospital blood bank, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., May 4
-Westbury Fire Department, 2 p.m. to 8 p.m., May 22
-Terryville Fire Department, Port Jefferson Station, 2:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., June 5
-Good Shepherd Lutheran Church and School, Plainview, 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., June 24
-John T. Mather Memorial Hospital, Port Jefferson, 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., June 29

The Good Shepherd blood drive also will be in the memory of Brian Hickey, a New York Fire Department captain and Bethpage Fire Department volunteer who perished in the World Trade Center on Sept. 11. Hickey’s widow, Donna Hickey, attends the church, Schulz said.

In addition, Martin Van Buren High School, where Dellacona had been an assistant principal, will hold a blood drive for students and staff, and the NYPD precinct where Schulz’s grandson works is planning an internal blood drive.

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